Editor bids farewell to Sewickley Valley and this great newspaper

Thursday, August 2, 2018 | 1:33 AM


As one of the oldest community newspapers still in operation in the region, the Sewickley Herald has documented quite a bit of change across the Sewickley Valley over the years.

After all, change is news. And things always are changing.

Most of the time our pages and website are reserved for news about the community. But as a community institution that’s been here for nearly 115 years (Sept. 19 marks the anniversary), sometimes the news is about us.

After 11 years, this is my final week with the Sewickley Herald and the Tribune-Review family.

During my time here — first as a reporter and then as the paper’s editor — my goal was to provide this community with the newspaper they (you) deserved.

In my 2018 Herald Citizens of the Year celebration speech, I described how the role of a community newspaper is much like the role of a mother.

“The Herald is there to comfort when there is pain, question when there is conflict, and celebrate when there is joy,” I explained at that celebration. Mothers get to the bottom of disagreements between children, can tell when someone isn’t telling the truth, and know everything that happens at home even if they didn’t witness it.

We’ve strived for independence, the truth and accuracy. And, like any human, we sometimes have come up short.

I’ve been part of some exciting, sad and heartfelt moments here. Through a bracelet that says “The World” and his baseball card on my desk, I’ve been reminded daily of the outpouring of support the Galluzzo family has received since the 2014 death of Owen Galluzzo.

I’ve covered some locally iconic store closings, including Party Ants, Monday’s Child, Travelwares and Yankello’s; helped to introduce the new Quaker Valley Middle School to the community; watched as Esmark laid roots in Edgeworth; saw the Tull Theater go up; and shared great news about a $37 million donation to Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital and Sewickley Public Library.

I’ll also fondly remember last year’s historic Quaker Valley football team becoming WPIAL and PIAA champions for the first time in school history. I am the only Herald editor to oversee regional and state football championship coverage.

But one person does not alone create a successful newspaper. Countless others, including a slew of freelancers, paginator Roxanne Abramowitz and many past staffers all have helped contribute to its continued success.

So much of the success of this newspaper should be credited to my dear friend Kristina Serafini, whose photojournalism work here has been recognized for its professionalism and deep storytelling by colleagues at statewide and national levels, and to my friend Carolyn Dymerski, who has worked hard to help businesses and individuals share their messages through advertising in the Herald.

What’s great about a newspaper like the Herald is that it keeps doing its job. The Herald hopefully will continue to tell the stories of this community for decades to come — long after my name disappears from its pages.

It has not been easy to bid farewell to this community or to this newspaper that I love so much. (There have been a lot of tears shed.)

But I’m reminded of a line in one of my favorite musicals — “Avenue Q” — that is simple and true: “Everything in life is only for now.”

Bobby Cherry has been a member of the Sewickley Herald since 2007.